A new study finds that sodium levels decreased in a sample of top selling packaged foods by about 7% from 2009 to the beginning of 2015.
The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, evaluated the efforts National Salt Reduction Initiative (NSRI). The NSRI aims to reduce sodium in the food supply by encouraging food companies to voluntarily commit to sodium targets. In 2009, the NSRI set two sets of targets (for 2012 and for 2014) for sodium levels in a variety of food categories. By 2014, 45% of food products and 26% of food categories met 2012 targets, while 3% of food categories met 2014 targets.
What does this mean? According to the American Heart Association (AHA) and American Stroke Association (ASA), it shows that the food industry is making efforts to reduce sodium, but there is more to be done.
“This is a noteworthy reduction, but it is not enough to eliminate the threats posed by sodium,” said AHA CEO Nancy Brown. “Robust, clear science shows that excessive amounts of sodium can lead to high blood pressure, which greatly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. It’s critical to give consumers more control over how much sodium they eat, and fortunately there is a plan in place to make this possible. The FDA’s draft voluntary sodium targetsgive the food industry a goal to work toward, and we encourage the FDA to continue dialogue with industry and finalize goals promptly to support the health of all Americans.”
Brown is urging all food manufacturers and restaurants to follow the lead of companies who have already committed to reduce sodium in their products.